Is Your $40 Skirt Hurting the Environment?

From | May 27, 2015

“So, can I ever shop at Zara again?” was my first question to director Andrew Morgan after watching his new documentary, True Cost. With the help of Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, and environmental activist Vandana Shiva, the film uncovers the deep impact that cheap, disposable clothing is having on our world today, and is, at times, gut-wrenching and alarming.

“Look, I don’t want anyone to walk away from this film thinking less of fashion,” explains Morgan. “I don’t want people to think, ‘I should feel guilty if I love the things that I wear.’ We just need to take a step back from our incessant consumption of mediocre stuff. Let’s go back to a place where we invest in pieces that we love, that we’re going to wear and hold on to.”

Today, we consume 400 percent more clothing than we did two decades ago. That quantity of consumption, and our carelessness of purchasing, is part of the problem. (Ever dipped into Topshop to grab a new dress for a party because “It’s only $60!” even though you have five perfectly pretty dresses already hanging in your wardrobe?) To keep prices low and meet demand, fashion giants now outsource 97 percent of production, paying workers as little as $1 a day and hurting the environments and economies of already unstable and impoverished developing countries.

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